Monday 27 January 2020

Garda should not lose job for assault on man, says judge

Gda Kevin Curran said he had feared for his safety
Gda Kevin Curran said he had feared for his safety

Video footage of a garda punching a man during an arrest would be a "classic example" of how not to let a situation escalate out of control if shown to trainees at Templemore, a judge has said.

Judge Alan Mitchell was commenting in the case of Gda Kevin Curran (34), who was found guilty of assaulting Ben O'Dwyer by using excessive force to hit him twice with his fists as he restrained him.

However, he said he would consider striking the case out, leaving Gda Curran with no criminal record, if he paid €3,000 to the victim and attended an anger management course.

Judge Mitchell said what happened was an "error of judgment" by a garda with an unblemished record, and he would recommend the accused does not lose his job.

The victim also said he did not want to see Gda Curran dismissed.

The case was adjourned for finalisation next February.


Gda Curran, stationed at Ronanstown, had denied assaulting Mr O'Dwyer at Ballyowen Shopping Centre, Lucan, on October 22, 2016. He was found guilty following a non-jury trial at Dublin District Court.

The case was brought on behalf of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

The court heard Mr O'Dwyer and a group of friends had been golfing before they went to get a takeaway.

They were told by gardai to move on as they sat on a wall. Mr O'Dwyer said he questioned the order but was complying when Gda Curran grabbed him and threw him to the ground, where he punched his upper back and side.

Gda Curran admitted striking Mr O'Dwyer twice with a fist, but maintained he had feared for his safety, acted in self-defence and used "reasonable and proportionate" force.

He said the victim's friends were coming closer and he feared Mr O'Dwyer had a weapon, but this was not the case.

In a victim impact statement, Mr O'Dwyer said he regretted what happened, but rejected many of the assertions made by the defence and said he and his friends were not "troublemakers" and did nothing wrong.

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